Guest Blog by Diana Reynolds Roome, reproduced with permission from Talent [Oregon] News & Review and the author, Diana Reynolds Roome.
For mosaic artist Karen Rycheck, any giant slab of bare concrete looks like a blank canvas.
Last year, she noticed that the outdoor stage between City Hall and the Library could be the perfect place to declare Talent’s dedication to vital pollinator insects and the plants that feed them.
”We have this designation,” said Karen, referring to Talent’s 2014 declaration as a Bee City USA (the second in the nation.). “But few people know that we’re a Bee City or what that means. I want to make the commitment obvious. Let’s stick to that and honor it.”
Scores of people apparently agree. Many have taken the project into their own hands, literally, by taking one or more mosaic workshops at Karen’s studio in Talent. Under her careful guidance,, they have fashioned an explosion of colorful glass and ceramic flowers, often surprising themselves.
“Working with Karen and helping on the mosaic mural project has given me so much confidence and artistic freedom,” said Noel Hastings, who has come from Grant’s Pass multiple times with her sister and a friend. ‘Sitting side-by-side with other artists, each with our own flair and style and with Karen’s direction, has allowed me to be free in my own thoughts.”
For Carol Berger, a retired occupational therapist in Talent, the mosaic has been an opportunity to highlight the importance of flowers and pollinators. “I have a pollinator garden and this project gives me one more opportunity to promote this cause and have a lot of fun at the same time, “she said.
Flowers will express the major theme in a mosaic 32 feet long by 19 inches tall, to be installed on the lower front of Talent’s outdoor stage in time for this year’s Harvest Festival. It will have the words Bee City USA – Talent blazoned across the front, and will swarm with insects and bees as well as flowers of every imaginable shape and color.
Bees and butterflies will be portrayed in detail, fashioned by Karen herself. These will be based on several speciific species and because of this they take exceptional skill. For this project, Karen has done a lot of research into different types of pollinators and how they relate to specific blooms.
I’ll place each insect on the flower it would probably be pollinating,” Karen said. “That’s what I love about these projects. I like the educational component, I enjoy doing research and learning things.”
Read the entire story here.